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A journAl of romAniAn nonfiction
Cristi Puiu and the New WaveEvery Woman is a Story About Breasts
Barbarian PunkDiana Dondoe on Nobuyoshi Araki
Letters from Romania
spring 2011 issue one www.decatorevista.ro English language edition of Dect o Revist
4 DOr spring 2011
Cover linesThe stories behind the cover images of the first issues of the Romanian edition of Dect o Revist.
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Mihai Dobrovolschi has been a staple of Romanian radio for more than a decade. Hes the gregarious morning host these days on Radio Guerrilla , always on, always witty, always charming, always playful. When photographer Alex Glmeanu shot him in 2004 for Bolero magazine, he ended up with a shot of Dobrovolschi fearfully holding a plug away from the socket in his mouth. What we wanted was the follow-up shot what happened next? This is what Glmeanu and Dobro came up with. Hes plugged, hes ready, hes yours for consumption.
april 2010a nEW GEnEraTIon
The mood in Romania as the recession plowed through was gloomy. The November 2009 presiden-tial elections didnt seem to make a difference. The men, those thousands of suits pondering politics and the economy, had failed to deliver. Power was powerless. But a new generation of women didnt even flinch. They took the apathy as a green light. It was their time to start small business, make art, build NGOs, and show that change isnt something that trickles down from the Presidents office, but is built slowly, from the ground up.
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october 2010arTan anD THE cHInEsE sHoVEl
Adrian Artan Pleca is sometimes called The Everest of Romanian music. A former frontman for the band Timpuri Noi, a subversive outfit that was just as smart during communism as they were after, he was and is an inspiration to a horde of young rockers. His awkwardness and quirks made him an ideal choice for our idea: showcase the wonders of the Chinese army shovel, a multi-purpose tool that does everything you can imagine: from digging to chopping to opening beer. If Romania was to dig itself out of a funk, this was the tool to use. And Artan was the perfect candidate to use it.
July 2010WHEn I Was 16
Putting a 16-year-old punk rocker on the cover was an easy decision, despite the odds. Otto, nicknamed The Barbarian, wasnt a celebrity. His band had barely played a few gigs. He wasnt going to sit for a portrait. But he had something special unique to him, but accesible to us all. He was 16, the age of re-bellion and absolute truths, the age at which youre never wrong and everything is possible. Sixteen is the most punk any of us will ever be, and Otto was the perfect guy to remind us of that. The cover im-age was shot by Ioana Crlig.
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20 DOr spring 2011
Six things about the Flag Among the many legends surrounding the gigantic Peoples House, some refer to the flag flying on the highest flank. The flag is not a hologram, its not made of metal or from the sail used on boats. No, there isnt a granite deposit underneath the building that generates currents so strong that the placing of the flag on the roof would be impossible. And no, the flag wasnt put there because Gheorghe Funar, Romanias most nationalistic politician, said so. / By Sorana Stnescu
The flag was included in the con-struction project of The peoples House from the start. it was placed exactly at half the distance betwe-en the lateral flanks, projected on an imaginary axis that starts from Alba iulia square and stops at the building of the Defense Ministry, right behind the peoples House. The flag flew for approximately one year, between 1988, when the last floor of the building was built, and 1989. The mast was 16 meters high, placed on a concrete octogonal platform 4 meters high and 6 meters wide.
After the revolution, the flag was taken down together with the metallic construction that sup-ported it. (petre roman, the first prime minister of the post-commu-nist government, says the reason for takingit down may have been its emblem of the socialist republic of romania. From 1990 to 2002, nobody thought about putting the flag back up. in 1994, the Chamber of Deputies moved into The peoples House. At the same time, Law 75 regarding the carrying of the roma-nian flag, the playing of the national anthem and the usage of the seals with the countrys emblem came into effect. The law made placing the flag back on The peoples House compulsory: The flag should per-manently be displayed outside and inside public institutions.
It was only in 2002, when the platform of the C4 flank was repai-red, that the Chamber of Deputies decided to raise the flag again. One of the projects was designed by the chief architect of the building, Anca petrescu, and included a transparent mast, made of plastic and metal, with an interior elevator illuminated at night. The mast wo-uld have been 20 meters high, and the pennant was meant to be either 6x4, either 4x2 meters. it wouldnt have been so complicated to be put into practice, says petrescu today. But the deputies rejected the idea and chose a simplified project: the 4 meter high octagonal base was cut to 2.5 meters, and the mast was reduced to a steel pole, 21 cm in diameter and 14 meters high.
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The base: 2.5 meters. The mast: 14 meters. The flag: 3.20 by 4.80 meters.
Putting the flag on top of the building and replacing it whenever its torn is indeed an endurance test. The person who goes up with the flag has to have good balance, because there is no ladder there. He has to reach the 84 meters high platform and then climb the steel pole using metal props. He puts one prop forward, and then lifts his leg. He keeps moving the props to get to the top, explains Ovidiu Lecu, for-mer chief of the general Directorate for Development in the Chamber of Deputies. He climbs, takes down the old flag and replaces it with the new one. Many times there is ice on the pole and the wind is very strong, which makes the climbing difficult. Today, there are only three employees fit to complete this task.
Finding the proper fabric for the flag was the second stepping stone, since it had to resist the winds whipping effect. The rain and the wind (which at that altitude sometimes reaches 100 km/hour) tear apart the red part of the flag, the one at the exterior. The solution came from a military unit, which indicated the necessary technical conditions of the fabric. There were 11 total: the thinness of the stitches, the weight of the fabric and its resistance to hydrostatic pressure. After testing several materials, on the drizzly day of December 27, 2002, the first post-revolutionary flag was placed on the top of the building. Today the pennant is 4.80 meters long and 3.20 meters wide.
The colors are established by law: cobalt blue, chrome yellow and red vermilion. in pantone, the color codes are: 280c, 116c and 186c (these are approximations taken from a French reference book, since the romanian law doesnt specify them). From 2002 to 2008, the monthly replacement rate was three flags. since 2008, the buildings administrators changed the fabric to 100% polyester, which is more resistant because it lets the air pass through. now the flag is replaced every month and a half, maybe two. it costs between 100 and 300 Lei, or 20 to 70 Euro.
F rom the moment I first heard the word nainte I knew it was not a real word. It could not be. It was merely a few consonants embedded into at least six mangled, intertwined, unpronounceable vowel sounds. But I was wrong. I checked. It is a word.I know that because, while perus-ing the stacks of antique books at a local shop, I discovered a rare etymological dictionary. Why it was in English, I dont know. But there it was: the explanation, the first recorded use of the word nainte. Of course, as Romanians, you know the story. But to me, it helped explain much about the language.It seems that on or about October 4 in the year 1183
or so, during yet another invasion by some pesky neighbor, one of the top hefes trying to find Ploieti, stopped a young boy to ask directions. The two year old, eating the traditional lunch of peanut butter on sliced mamaliga, pointed straight ahead and sug-gested the man, dressed in what looked like pajamas, go take a nap. And so, as any true Romanian knows, nani te spoken with a peanut butter accent be-came the word for straight ahead.And thus a language is born.This story explained a lot, for it seems to me
that Romanian is one of the few surviving pure ancient languages, a clear pool of pristine words, into which several invaders over the centuries have poured their various buckets of murky water. And now its Americas turn. How else do you explain
conversations in which I understand nothing except the occasional trend-setter, hotspot, sex bomb sprinkled throughout? During a meeting, just as my attention drifts comfortably away, its like hearing your name suddenly called. Barul are un happy hour tare. What? What did you say?And then the real confusion begins. Catering
means the shop delivers, not that they will provide a shawarma banquet for your wedding. Nonstop means its open 24 hours, not that it flies to Paris without any layovers. And when people shout Hai, Romania, they are not saying hello. Most important-ly, at restaurants, Fried Crap on the menu does not mean, well, fried crap.Now, keep in mind that Im not the best judge of a
foreign language. Im American. I once had a Scottish employee who, when he spoke English, I could not understand a word he said. And Ive taken four years of German, each one conveniently called Introduc-tion to German.So